Backcountry Checklist

Trips to the backcountry usually involve waking up at an hour that impairs brain function. I've been on more than one trip that's had to turn back for forgotten boots.  I also hear it's not fun to be left with no choice but to make skins out of duct tape because you didn't notice your lack of skins til you were at the mountain.

In order to combat the carelessness brought on by the morning fugue I like to keep a checklist around that I check off the night before as I shove things into the pack, and finish checking off as I walk out the door. I just remade the list in preparation for my first backcountry trip in Japan and thought I'd share it here for the following reasons.

  1. I hope it might be useful to others
  2. Am I forgetting something? Let me know. (Beyond the obvious pack and baselayer - it's just not possible to forget those things)
  3. I want to hear what other people find themselves putting in their packs when they go out, even if it's not something essential.

Backcountry Checklist


  • planks
    • boarder: bindings
    • board tool
  • skins
  • poles
  • boots


  • ski socks
  • tights
  • snowpants
  • shell
  • puff
  • fleece
  • beanie
    • ski mask
  • ski gloves
    • uberwarm mittens
    • liners


  • first aid kit
  • beacon
  • probe
  • shovel
  • helmet
    • goggles
  • sunglasses
  • headlamp
  • chapstick
  • sunscreen


  • lunch
  • snacks
  • water

Misc / Optional

  • compass
  • inclinometer
  • camera
    • helmet cam
  • A warm thermos of something left in the car. Seriously, this is magical.


What, you didn't know you'd be going to hot springs?
  • towel
  • change of clothes

Matt Enlow

Matt has a camera, a home on wheels, and this website
Down by the river